Tag Archives: sustainability

Never mind the ‘knick knacks’: it’s sustainable procurement

The supply chain

This post is by Shaun McCarthy OBE, chair of the Supply Chain Sustainability School.

I was a student at Lanchester Polytechnic in Coventry when the Sex Pistols first and only album, ‘Never mind the bollocks’ went straight to number one in 1977. The BBC had banned it so there was nothing at number one in the BBC album chart. The New Musical Express was full of it, reporting that Woolworths in Coventry had posted their album chart with Never Mind the Knick Knacks at number one.

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Empowering women will put us on a faster track to sustainability


This post is by Jenny Hawley,  freelance consultant and the editor of Why women will save the planet

Sexism and gender equality are hot topics in business, the media and politics, and women’s empowerment is widely recognised as critical to international development. So why don’t we hear more environmentalists talking about it?

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Four lessons for young women working to save the world

Ecology app icons splash Woman head

This blog is by Alys Penfold, communications assistant at Green Alliance.

When my colleague Amy announced that she had helped to put together an event for women just starting out their careers in the sustainability sector, I was hesitant to apply. Despite fitting the bill as an applicant, I didn’t feel like I qualified, as I had only just started out in the sector and thought I wouldn’t have enough experience or knowledge to participate. By the end of the two days at ‘She is Sustainable’, I had completely changed my mind.

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How to design sustainability into your cuppa

This post is by Chris Sherwin, head of sustainability at design and innovation consultancy SeymourpowellIt was first published on Guardian Sustainable Business.

If you’re reading this over morning coffee or afternoon tea, chances are you’ll have put the kettle on. Putting aside the sustainability impacts of coffee, tea, milk or sugar sourcing, which an eco-literate audience will likely know, or the social value, conviviality and cultural importance of these rituals, the humble kettle itself encapsulates many of the central sustainability challenges around behaviour change and consumer engagement.

In this article, I want to use the kettle to unpack an important area of sustainability and design: creating sustainable behaviour. Read more

Three things we can learn from video games

This is a guest post by Olly Lawder of sustainability communications agency Futerra.

Nothing is more engaging, distracting, entertaining or compulsive than video games. Don’t believe me? Then you either haven’t played them or you simply haven’t found the right one yet. And, if you’re one of those people who thinks that video games (and the people that play them) are stupid, then this post might change your mind, because video games could hold the answer to engaging millions in sustainability issues. Read more

Can wilderness workshops create a new generation of natural leaders?

This is a guest post by freelance writer and environmentalist Anya Hart Dyke

Louise Macdonald has always been very active in her community and in politics, but until recently the green agenda had passed her by. “It just didn’t stick”, she says. The chief executive of youth information charity Young Scot, Macdonald engaged with the idea of sustainability on an intellectual basis, and recycled her waste because that was what good citizens did, but overall she says she did very little.

Then in 2008 Macdonald took part in WWF Scotland’s Natural Change Project (NCP), which involved two week-long residential workshops in the wilderness. Read more

Unwanted Christmas gifts cost £2.4bn – nearly as much as the Green Investment Bank

This is a guest post by Julie Hill, author of The Secret Life of Stuff, and an associate of Green Alliance.

If, like me, you’ve emerged from the whole Christmas gift-giving experience feeling bruised and wondering what it’s all about, I have a message of hope.  One that can be developed throughout the coming year, with the intention of making next Christmas a little psychologically easier on us all.   Read more

The energy debate must consider demand – not just supply

This is a guest post by Rebecca Willis, a Green Alliance associate. It was first published on guardian.co.uk.

It is based on Demanding Less: Why we need a new politics of energy, by Rebecca Willis and Nick Eyre, which was launched at a recent Green Alliance catalyst debate (watch video).


A few years ago, Jeffrey Dukes, a US biologist, was driving through the deserts of Utah on his way to a research station. As his car ate up the miles, he began thinking about the fuel in the tank, and the plants that it had come from. How many ancient plants, he wondered, had it taken to power him across the desert? He asked around, but couldn’t find out. “The more I searched, the more frustrated I got. No one knew the answer.”

So he did the sums himself. He worked out that a staggering 25 tonnes of plant matter go into every single litre of petrol. “I realised,” says Dukes, “that nearly everything I do depends upon plants that grew millions of years ago; and that without them, my life would be completely different.” Read more

Super nudges to sustainable living

This is a guest post by Solitaire Townsend, co-director of sustainable communications agency Futerra. It is part of a series of comment pieces on whether government needs to do more than nudge us towards sustainable living.

When it comes to sustainable lifestyles most of us suffer from ‘enthusiastic inertia’.  It all sounds rather nice (in a glammed-up Good Life type of way) and we believe it’s a jolly important thing for people to do. But not for us, or at least not for us right now. Read more